Friday, August 11, 2006

Pastor on Trial

Oh, yeah...the blog...this journal.

I'm working on a painful newsletter right now; a couple days back an ELCA bishop filed formal charges against an ELCA pastor for the sole reason of him being gay and having a partner and refusing to resign from his congregation in Atlanta, Georgia. If you're not already getting the newsletter you can sign up at the website (

How do you write this thing? The words aren't coming. Better to journal it first here and then create that newsletter.

Part of what's hard is that this church trial is going to get into lots of church language, and the history of other trials, and the ELCA's commitment to welcoming all people, and the ELCA's discussion last summer that bishops were encouraged to be understanding and pastorally caring, and the reality now of a hard, sharply defined trial coming up soon. It's going to be hard to discuss in all its detail. At core is a pastor committed to the gospel whose being put on trial for one reason, there is no protection for ELCA male pastors who love other men in committed relationshop and for ELCA female pastors who love other women in committed relationships. At core it's about who you get to wake up in the morning and have breakfast with each day.

Part of what's hard is that perhaps this will be the event in the ELCA that shows how ludicrous the ELCA postion about gay and lesbian pastor's relationships is. There is no protection in this church except for the kindness of individual leaders. Any homophobic or rulehappy bishop can pull the trigger on a gay or lesbian pastor's career anytime they want. It just happened a few months ago in Chicago. That pastor chose not to fight the fight in public.

Part of what's hard is that perhaps this WON'T be the event that precipates equality in the ELCA. Maybe we'll just go through one more pastor and one more congregation, and bear the cost of this hypocrisy as the ELCA continues its ever so gentle reduction in membership and credibility.

There's a lot that's hard about this. I don't even know all the dimensions of the sick feeling that I have inside of me. I hurried and hurried all last winter to get Straight Into Gay America published this summer. I figured that LGBT equality would once again be a hot topic in these months before the midterm election. I was wrong-- it's more than hot, it's flaming, with input from President Bush, The US Senate, the US House of Representatives, Supreme Courts in New York, Washington, Nebraska, Alabama, and Georgia, and Governor Schwarzennager in California.

I'm going to let the difficult feelings buble up, and then I'm going to find a way through, and a way forward. Some day gay and lesbian pastors will live without constant fear of national exposure and loss of job. Not yet.

Thanks for helping create better somedays.


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